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All comments by Craig Zastera
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I do not think doubling 2 is “close.”

Would you have doubled a (2) opening? Yes.

Would you have doubled if LHO had been dealer and the auction had been (1)-P-(2). Yes.

So I do not see OP auction as substantially different. You have extra values, support for the unbid suits (particularly good support for the unbid major), and a stiff .
Double is clear.
May 14
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I do not believe such a “2-way 3” overcall is playable.

What will you do with OP hand when partner bids 3NT? Whatever you do, it is a blind guess.
May 14
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2 here (a reverse) is most definitely NOT forcing to game (no different from any other reverse).

Since OP hand here is “text-book” for 2 (reverse), the only issue is whether it is right to rebid in a 4 card suit when you know partner cannot have 4 s.

After all, this gives out info about our hand without suggesting a viable new trump suit for our side (I'll discount the possibility that we might want to play s in a 4-3 fit).

My view is that is *is* correct to choose the reverse on a hand this ideal (describes our shape and strength well) even if the chances that we will actually want to *play* in s is low.

The 2 reverse gives partner a good picture of our hand so that the auction is more likely to proceed intelligently.
Perhaps we'll get to bid our fragment later, completing a perfect “picture” for partner (and the opponents).

You need good methods over opener's reverse. Many play that 2NT by responder now would be a “weak relay”, usually showing a hand that wants to sign-off at the 3 level (unless opener has a super-strong reverse with GF values).
With less than a full GF, opener usually “relays” to 3. Then, OP responding hand can correct to 3 for play. 3 seems like a reasonable spot with good chances to make.

With those methods, an immediate 3 by responder over the 2 reverse would be natural and GF, thus requiring a better hand than the OP responding hand here.
May 14
Craig Zastera edited this comment May 14
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But a VUL 3 level overcall suggests a much different hand type–something roughly equivalent to a hand that would have opened 1 and then jump rebid 3 over a 1M response in an uncontested auction.

But OP South hand here is nothing like that. It is more like a pre-emptive 3 (or perhaps 4) opening.

If you make the same call (3) with this hand or with a 16 count with 6 good s, how can partner possibly bid intelligently?
May 14
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The problem with doubling is that partner will think you have at least 10 useful HCPs and bid 4 like a shot with something like:
x-QJxx-KQJx-KQJx
or even less.
May 14
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Bridge World Standard says:

" ♠ AKQTx ♥ AKx ♦ Qxxx ♣ x
is slightly too strong for a 1 overcall of (1)
with neither side vulnerable.

The normal simple overcall maximum is 18 HCP with
5-3-3-2 distribution or the equivalent after trading
off high cards for shape."

Based on this, I think it is reasonable to claim that OP East hand here is definitely appropriate for DOUBLE planning on following with a rebid according to concensus modern expert practices.
May 14
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Crocodiles have jaws too.

Had East invoked that reptile after running his Q by continuing with the *9* to eat the eight, the defense might have prevailed.
May 14
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Regarding the defense:
It appears to me that East's ducking the lead from dummy at trick 3 was a defensive error.

It East instead wins the T at trick 3 and returns a (not obvious), I believe the defense can hold declarer to 5 tricks with best play/defense thereafter.

Once East ducks the at trick 3, declarer can always come to 6 tricks with best play.
(and South can come to 6 tricks if he plays a major suit from dummy at trick 3).
May 13
Craig Zastera edited this comment May 13
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My previous comment did not address what 2NT by *advancer* might be over a (second) double (i.e. of (2) by doubler.

But I will remark that advancer did NOT “pass over 2” as you suggest in your comment. What he “passed over” was the 2 Drury call (at which point “G/B 2NT” surely would not have applied).
Thus, had the auction gone:

(P) P (1) DBL
(2) P (2) DBL
(P) 2N?
I think it would be debatable whether that 2NT (by advancer) should be “G/B” or scrambling. It *is* his first opportunity for a “G/B” 2NT, suggesting that should apply.

But since he did pass over 2 when he might have done otherwise, that argues for “scrambling” which is probably the better use on this uncommon auction.
May 12
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Do we have some non-standard agreement that prevents our opening 3 on this perfect text-book example (for the given conditions)?
May 12
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Content with 3, but closer to 4 than to PASS.

Consider: KQ9xxx-x-A9x-AQx or AKxxxx-x-KQx-QJx,
either of which make 4 easily good enough for IMPs vul, and neither of which are strong enough for OP sequence in my view (just 1 overcalls I think).
May 12
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All the conditions (vulnerability, partner a PH, absolutely no help in any other suit) are set up to encourage an unusual 1 overcall (“for the lead”).

So I'll bite although I can't recall ever having done this in real life–perhaps the perfect conditions are too rare. Or maybe it's easier to “step out” in a problem than in real life.
May 12
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Yet another example of the value of “good/bad 2NT” in a perhaps somewhat unusual situation.

After North's opening, South's Drury, and West's passing, obviously *any* further action by East must show a very good hand.

But there are still degrees of “goodnesss”.

Here, over North's 2 rebid, “good/bad 2NT” can be used to differentiate two ranges of strength of strong 1-suiter hand types.

With normal “G/B” semantics, actual OP auction where East bids 3 over (2) would be the stronger. This begs West to boost to game with anything useful (as here).
I think this sequence is appropriate with actual East hand, over which West has a “no-brainer” boost to 4.

Alternatively, with a slightly less awesome hand, East could bid a “bad” 2NT, then “correct” to 3 over West's more or less forced 3. This sequence still shows a very good hand, but not quite as good as direct 3.

Over this sequence, it is not quite so clear what OP West hand should do.
Four s to the QT and a ruffing value is still pretty nice, so a boost to 4 would still be very reasonable (IMO), especially VUL at IMPs. But now West might consider that East had a stronger sequence available and judge to pass 3.

Without the “G/B” tool, there is too much guess-work.
Given the conditions, I would still judge to raise with the West hand rather than risk missing a VUL game.
May 12
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Even AKQxxx-x-A9x-QJx makes 4 good.
May 12
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Here are some further simulation results:

1. for playing 4.
I looked at 5 HCP hands with 5 s, 2-3 s,
2-4 s, 2-4 s

A. Opposite random 19 HCP balanced hands
with 3 s, but not 4333:
4 made on 45.3% of the deals

B. Opposite random 20 HCP balanced hands
with 3 s but not 4333:
4 made on 64.4% of the deals

C. Opposite AJ9-AQ76-A954-A3 (OP hand):
4 made on 59.8% of the deals

2. For playing 4:
I looked at 5 HCP hands with 4 s, balanced or
2=4=2=5 or 2=4=5=2, but not 3=4=3=3.

A. Opposite random 19 HCP 3=4=4=2 hands:
4 made on 38.1 of the deals

B. Opposite random 20 HCP 3=4=4=2 hands:
4 made on 60.2% of the deals

C. Opposite AJ9-AQ76-A954-A3 (OP hand):
4: made on 49.7% of the deals

3. For playing 3NT:
I looked at 5 HCP balanced hands with no 8+ card
major suit fit

A. Opposite random 19 HCP balanced hands:
3NT made on 31.46% of the deals

B. Opposite random 20 HCP balanced hands:
3NT made on 50.44% of the deals

C. Opposite AJ9-AQ76-A954-A3 (OP hand)
3NT made on 35.0% of the deals
May 11
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Assuming responder's 2NT then 4NT shows 18-19 HCPs (which is what I assume), then since this is matchpoints, opener should convert to 6NT. Responder does not know opener has 15 HCPs, so his 6 is not final.
May 10
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Surprising vote.

I considered the choice primarily between 3 (which I chose) and 3 (obviously showing 3 s as I wouldn't rebid 2 with four s), and possibly a jump to 3NT to show the extreme maximum values.

In fact, I think there is a case for a 3 rebid with this hand rather than the actual 2, but I'm OK with 2 as the suit isn't quite good enough for 3, and the values not quite enough for a 2 reverse.

3 has several advantages. It might right-side 3NT if partner has e.g. :Qx(x).

It might serve as advance cue. If partner continues with 3, I now bid 3 and have given a very good description I think.
May 9
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Funny, I suspect we'd bid 1-1-1-P and likely play it there (no telling what opponents might do of course).
May 9
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No need to distort shape with a 1NT opener when you have s to provide an easy rebid.
May 9
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I am in the process of doing some simulations of this OP hand and also similar hands with one or both of the “9”s replaced by “10”s.

I want to look at these hands opposite balanced 5 HCP hands without an 8+ card major fit in 3NT and compare with average balanced 19 HCP hands and average 20 HCP balanced hands.

But I also want to compare vs. average 19 and 20 HCP hands with 3=4=4=2 shape in:
(a) 4 when dummy has 4 s, 5 HCPs, not too unbalanced
(b) 4 when dummy has 5 s, 5 HCPs, < 4 s, no voids

because this hand looks like it might play well in 4 or 4 opposite appropriate minimal dummy's with an 8 card major fit. If so, that might provide a basis for an upgrade since a major suit contract is not an unlikely possibility.

So far, though, this hand is *not* looking like it justifies an upgrade to 2NT opener w.r.t 3NT contract.

Opposite 5 HCP balanced dummys without an 8+ card major fit:
3NT made on only 35.0% of the deals (1000 deal simulation)

An average balanced 20 HCP hand in similar simulations had 3NT making slightly over 50% of the time (50.4%) opposite balanced 5 HCP hands with no 8+ card major fit.

Even when I replaced both “9” with “10s”
(AJT-AQ76-AT54-A3), I got 3NT making on only 45.0% of the deals opposite random 5 HCP balanced hands.

That means even that upgraded hand is not as good as an average balanced 20 HCP hand (for 3NT play), but that one is close enough to justify an upgrade as it performs closer to average 2NT than to average 19 HCP balanced hand (which makes 3NT only about 31% of the time opposite balanced 5 counts).
May 9
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